Albert Buitenhuis, the South African chef who was getting kicked out of New Zealand for being too fat, has been given a 23-month reprieve. Buitenhuis will not be allowed access to any publicly-funded healthcare, however.
New Zealand, which was alarmed by Buitenhuis's weight enough to initially reject the chef on those grounds, is now backing away from the fat issue and saying that they rejected him because he has osteoarthritis in his knee. New Zealand has one of the highest obesity rates in the world.
Buitenhuis has actually lost weight since he moved to Christchurch six years ago, and in recent photographs has appeared both healthy, and just kinda big-boned. While fighting the rejection of his visa, Buitenhuis has been keeping a blog called The Too Fat Chef about his struggles. It includes some neat cooking tips as well. Unfortunately, however, the visa struggle has cost Buitenhuis and his wife dearly — they've lost their house.
"Of course, we are pleased and relieved that we are now able to stay. But at the same time we would rather rewind so that none of this took place," Buitenhuis told Fairfax media. "We are really starting from scratch again. We have lost thousands of dollars fighting this and we don't know where we will live because our home is gone. I am glad the fight is over but I am still afraid of what lies ahead."
Buitenhuis is in a healthy mood, however. He plans on slimming down even more over the duration of the temporary visa.